0

CONSERVATORSHIPS: MUHAMMAD ALI SHOWED US THAT EVEN THE GREATEST NEED SOMEONE TO LEAN ON

As the nation continues to mourn the passing of a great boxer, statesman, civil rights advocate, promoter, family man, and the list goes on and on, Muhammad Ali reminds us all—both in life and death—that even the greatest sometimes fall.

And if and when we do fall, it is comforting to know that there are options to help ease the burden of many of life’s obligations and responsibilities that can be legally passed to our loved ones.

Conservatorships 

A conservatorship is the process of asking the Probate Court to appoint an individual to take care of another’s personal and financial affairs. Typically, this is done where an adult family member has fallen ill and can no longer assume their own responsibilities with ease.

When Muhammad Ali was stricken with Parkinson’s disease, his fourth wife, Lonnie Ali, assumed care-taking duties and control over his affairs.[1] 

There are reports that some of Muhammad Ali’s children began to question her motives or ability to care for Muhammad Ali, and considered bringing an action for conservatorship in Probate Court.[2] 

Conservatorships are not just for purposes of elder care. Conservators can be appointed for anyone even young adults (18 years of age or older) suffering with substance abuse, mental illness, or other issues affecting one’s ability to care for their own basic needs. This is sometimes referred to as a “conservator for the person.” 

A “conservator of the estate” is another type of conservatorship where the Probate Court appoints someone or an entity to supervise another’s financial affairs if the court is sufficiently convinced that that the subject of the conservatorship is essentially wasting financial resources and acting against their own best interests.[3] It is not uncommon for a someone to serve both as a conservator or the person and the estate. 

Other Legal Options to Care for Loved Ones

Conservatorships can be accomplished both voluntarily and even involuntarily when needed. Conservatorships are an attractive option when someone already has power of attorney over your loved one and you suspect abuse, coercion, or misappropriation of funds.

Conservatorship will null and void any previously executed power of attorney.[4] In the case of Muhammad Ali, where Ali’s children alleged that his wife was abusing her power of attorney, a conservatorship action could have been brought in Probate Court.

If Ali’s children could have convinced the Probate Court that Muhammad Ali’s affairs were not being managed adequately, they could have stripped away Lonnie Ali’s power of attorney, but such an action was never brought.

However, when a loved one is relinquishing certain rights voluntarily, there may be other less expensive options that may accomplish the same thing.

Power of Attorney

One such option is a power of attorney. A durable power of attorney gives ‘broad and sweeping’ power for one to act on behalf of another. Essentially, a POA gives authority to another to make all decisions affecting one’s financial and legal rights. However, when giving away power of attorney, your loved one may limit those rights related to all or some of the following:[5]

  • Real estate transactions;
  • Personal property;
  • Investment transactions;
  • Banking transactions;
  • Business operating transactions;
  • Insurance transactions;
  • Estate transactions;
  • Claims and litigation;
  • Personal relationships and affairs;
  • Military service benefits;
  • Records, reports and statements;

Health Care Directive

A Health Care Directive allows another to make all decisions regarding treatment and to act on behalf of your loved one for medical decisions and communicate their wishes by proxy. A health care directive can also allow another access to you medical records and any health information in order to comply with HIPAA laws.

Contact the Law Offices of Charles Kurmay if You Need Help Appointing a Conservator or Probate Lawyer for Any Matter in Connecticut or New York.

At the Law Offices of Charles Kurmay, our skilled and experienced attorneys routinely assist clients in probate matters, which range from regular estate administration to very complex probate litigation.  We regularly litigate in the Probate and Superior Courts in Connecticut and in New York as well.  We help clients plan their estates, drafting wills and trusts while helping with tax and Medicaid planning to protect the wealth hard working people have earned over the course of their lives and to help prevent the disaster that we are discussing here.

With offices located in Milford, New York City, South Norwalk, and León Spain, we truly are a local firm with a global reach.

Our Fairfield County office proudly services your legal needs in Bethel, Bridgeport, Brookfield, Danbury, Darien, Easton, Fairfield, Greenwich, Monroe, New Canaan, New Fairfield, Newtown, Norwalk, Redding, Ridgefield, Shelton, Sherman, Stamford, Stratford, Trumbull, Weston, Westport, and Wilton.

We also proudly service New Haven County for all you legal needs in Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Bethany, Branford, Cheshire, Derby, East Haven, Guilford, Hamden, Madison, Meriden, Middlebury, Milford, Naugatuck, New Haven, North Branford, North Haven, Orange, Oxford, Prospect, Seymour, Southbury, Wallingford, Waterbury, West Haven, Wolcott, and Woodbridge.

Our New York City office proudly services all 5 boroughs, including Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island.

If this or anything similar has happened to you, please call us at 203-380-1743. We are available to talk anytime.

[1] http://www.aarp.org/home-family/caregiving/info-2014/caregiving-muhammad-lonnie-ali-parkinsons.html

[2] http://nypost.com/2014/01/26/muhammad-alis-son-shut-off-dad-living-in-poverty-in-chicago/

[3] http://www.ctprobate.gov/Documents/User%20Guide%20-%20Conservators.pdf

[4] Id.

[5] http://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/law/powersofattorney.htm

GENE WILDER: WHAT YOUR LEGAL OPTIONS ARE IN YOUR LOVED ONE’S GOLDEN YEARS

gene-2

Last week the world lost an incredible talent with a warm heart, Gene Wilder. Best known for his iconic role as Willy Wonka in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and other notable films such as Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein, Gene Wilder made lasting impressions with unforgettable quotes ingrained on so many children’s and now adult minds.

What was not a generally known about Gene Wilder is that he had Alzheimer’s Disease. Alzheimer’s is an irreversible and progressive disease that slowly attacks the mind and eventually causes death. Experts estimate that as many as 5 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s.[1]

As many of us have loved ones or know someone who has suffered with this illness, chances are you know how debilitating it can be. Although the symptoms can vary widely, those stricken with the disease generally experience cognitive impairment, such an inability to find the right words, spatial or visual issues, and a worsening of one’s judgment and ability to reason.

Despite the obvious strain of seeing your loved one go through this painful transition, the emotional stress is compounded when the family has to bear the responsibilities of providing adequate health care along with the financial costs. It is no doubt difficult for everyone; nonetheless, the legal process is available to you to ease the burden.

Conservatorship

Conservatorship is one option when tasked with the responsibility of caring for your loved one with Alzheimer’s and other similar diseases. In Connecticut, you can petition to appointment a conservator in your local Probate Court by filing the requisite forms.

In doing so, you must show that your loved one’s mental, emotional and/or physical condition prevents them from performing day-to-day functions necessary for their own well-being.[2]

There are two types of conservatorships: (1) conservator for the person where one cannot care for their own needs, or (2) conservator of the estate that is where one is unable to look after their own financial affairs or best interests due to some encumbrance, such as a medical condition.

Conservatorship can be critical to protecting your loved one’s rights, especially against the potential for theft, for simple mismanagement of funds. The law even allows for the freezing of the respondent’s bank accounts, if necessary, among other things to protect their loved one.

It is not clear at this time whether or not Gene Wilder’s family had conservatorship over him, but it is not uncommon for someone suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease.

Power of Attorney

Power of Attorney (POA) is another option when having to care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or similar illness. A power of attorney gives another equal power and authority to make all legal and financial decisions on behalf of your loved one.

A POA is free from regular oversight as a general rule but it is possible to seek the court’s protection with a conservatorship if the family doesn’t understand or trust what is going on with the management of the person’s assets and/or to seek an accounting of the who holds POA under limited circumstances.

A POA can be an attractive option because it allows your loved one to specifically designate what authority they want to give; for example, any decisions concerning your loved one’s bank accounts or real estate. The down side is that it only pertains really to one’s finances or business affairs.

Health Care Directive

A power of attorney is typically coupled with a health care directive. This allows your loved one to make important health care decisions while of sound mind on a HCD form, and then designate another to carry out his or her wishes by proxy.

As we celebrate the life of Gene Wilder and as details of his sickness emerge, you might be wondering which legal option is right for you and your family in caring for a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s or another equally terrible disease. If so, we are here to help you.

Contact the Law Offices of Charles Kurmay if You Need Help Appointing a Conservator or Need a Probate Lawyer for Any Matter in Connecticut or New York.

At the Law Offices of Charles Kurmay, our skilled and experienced attorneys routinely assist clients in probate matters, which range from regular estate administration to very complex probate litigation. We regularly litigate in the Probate and Superior Courts in Connecticut and in New York as well.  We help clients plan their estates, drafting wills and trusts while helping with tax and Medicaid planning to protect the wealth hard working people have earned over the course of their lives and to help prevent the disaster that we are discussing here.

With offices located in Milford, New York City, South Norwalk, and León Spain, we truly are a local firm with a global reach.

Our Fairfield County office proudly services your legal needs in Bethel, Bridgeport, Brookfield, Danbury, Darien, Easton, Fairfield, Greenwich, Monroe, New Canaan, New Fairfield, Newtown, Norwalk, Redding, Ridgefield, Shelton, Sherman, Stamford, Stratford, Trumbull, Weston, Westport, and Wilton.

We also proudly service New Haven County for all you legal needs in Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Bethany, Branford, Cheshire, Derby, East Haven, Guilford, Hamden, Madison, Meriden, Middlebury, Milford, Naugatuck, New Haven, North Branford, North Haven, Orange, Oxford, Prospect, Seymour, Southbury, Wallingford, Waterbury, West Haven, Wolcott, and Woodbridge.

Our New York City office proudly services all 5 boroughs, including Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island.

If this or anything similar has happened to you, please call us at 203-380-1743. We are available to talk anytime.

[1] https://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/publication/alzheimers-disease-fact-sheet#treating

[2] http://www.ctprobate.gov/

0

TIPS FOR RECOGNIZING AND ADDRESSING ELDER ABUSE

Law Offices of Charles L. Kurmay – We Help You Fight Against Elder Abuse. Contact Us.

Elder abuse takes many forms and continues to be an issue affecting seniors in Connecticut, New York and everywhere.

In fact, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), at least 1 in every 10 individuals over the age of 60 are victims of elder abuse.[1] These figures could be even higher as often seniors fail to report incidents of elder abuse for fear of being persecuted further.

We all have a moral responsibility to look after the elderly and make sure that our loved ones are not taken advantage of by unscrupulous scam artists who prey on those who are not in a position to help themselves.

Common Methods of Elder Abuse

The following are the most common types of elder abuse:[2]

  • Physical abuse
  • Financial exploitation
  • Neglect or abandonment
  • Sexual abuse
  • Emotional abuse

Often it might be difficult to recognize elder abuse as either (a) the one you trust to look after your loved one is in fact the culprit or (b) many of the signs of elder abuse can overlap with other common and natural medical conditions that wouldn’t necessarily arouse suspicion.

That is why you need to be alert and depending on your relationship with the potential victim of elder abuse, you can always consult with their doctor or someone else you trust to get a second opinion.

General Tips to Recognize Elder Abuse

There are certain signs you can be on the lookout to help identify and ultimately put a stop to elder abuse, including the following:[3]

  • Unexplained bruises, soars, or skin abrasions;
  • Sudden financial concerns or your loved one seems overly concerned or talkative about their caregiver;
  • A shift in behavior, personality, loss of interest or unexplained depressive state;
  • Unexplained weight loss, poor hygiene, or neglecting medical needs

Things You Can Do if You Suspect Elder Abuse

If you suspect that a loved one or any senior you know is a potential victim of elder abuse, then you need to speak up and tell someone. Most cases of elder abuse occur at the hand of their caregiver or even their own family member within their own homes.[4]

You can do so by contacting the local authorities or the Adult Protective Services (APS) agency in your loved one’s state of residence. Visit their website or call their hotline at (800) 677-1116.

If your loved one is the victim of a fraud or financial exploitation, you should call a skilled and experienced lawyer who can help get you restitution and put an end to the injustice.

Contact the Law Offices of Charles L. Kurmay if You Need an Elder Abuse, Estate Planning, or Probate Lawyer in Connecticut, New York, or California.

At the Law Offices of Charles Kurmay, our skilled and experienced attorneys routinely assist clients in probate matters, which range from regular estate administration to very complex probate litigation. We regularly litigate in the Probate and Superior Courts in Connecticut and in New York as well.  We help clients plan their estates, drafting wills and trusts while helping with tax and Medicaid planning to protect the wealth hard working people earn over a lifetime.

With offices located in Milford, New York City, South Norwalk, and León Spain, we truly are a local firm with a global reach.

Our Fairfield County office proudly services your legal needs in Bethel, Bridgeport, Brookfield, Danbury, Darien, Easton, Fairfield, Greenwich, Monroe, New Canaan, New Fairfield, Newtown, Norwalk, Redding, Ridgefield, Shelton, Sherman, Stamford, Stratford, Trumbull, Weston, Westport, and Wilton.

We also proudly service New Haven County for all you legal needs in Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Bethany, Branford, Cheshire, Derby, East Haven, Guilford, Hamden, Madison, Meriden, Middlebury, Milford, Naugatuck, New Haven, North Branford, North Haven, Orange, Oxford, Prospect, Seymour, Southbury, Wallingford, Waterbury, West Haven, Wolcott, and Woodbridge.

Our New York City office proudly services all 5 boroughs, including Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island. We serve all of Westchester County as well.

If this or anything similar has happened to you, please call us at (203) 380-1743. We are available to talk anytime.

[1] http://www.cdc.gov/features/elderabuse/

[2] http://www.helpguide.org/articles/abuse/elder-abuse-and-neglect.htm

[3] http://www.aoa.acl.gov/AoA_Programs/Elder_Rights/EA_Prevention/whatIsEA.aspx

[4] http://www.mylifesite.net/blog/post/how-to-recognize-and-address-elder-abuse

0

CHANGE IN LAW AFFECTS GUN TRUST REPORTING

The National Firearms Act (NFA) is a federal law that regulates certain types of weapons requiring owners to report the acquisition or transfer of the weapon to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives or ATF.  Some of the weapons that are regulated include:

  • (1) Short barrel or sawed off shotguns;
  • (2) Machineguns
  • (3) Any silencer; and
  • (4) Destructive devices

As an individual applicant, if you own or want to transfer one of  these types of weapons, you are required to register them with the NFRTR, the central registry, and disclose your identity and address to local authorities to ensure compliance with state and local laws.[1] Local authorities would also need to sign off on your individual application.[2]

Many legally savvy and Second Amendment purists, however, would circumvent individual reporting requirements by putting the ownership of NFA weapons into a living trust, so that technically no individual owned the gun, but rather was trust property. Guns owned by trust would bypass individual reporting requirements and law enforcement approval.

Trust Defined

A living trust is a testamentary instrument that divides certain property rights whereby a trustee holds the legal title to property for the benefit of another, called the beneficiary, until the happening of some event. Essentially, it allows one to transfer ownership of property to a legal entity, as opposed to an individual, called a trust.

There are all kinds of reasons to create a trust[3] depending on your personal circumstances and needs. For example, living trusts can provide asset protection from creditors, provide control and structured distribution of wealth to a loved one, or sometimes allow you avoid estate taxes or provide other tax benefits. In other cases, a trust can be set up to divert NFA reporting requirements, that is until recently.

NFA Gun Trust Loophole Shut

Effective July 13, 2016, Rule 41F requires responsible persons, which includes “gun trusts” and other legal entities to comply with the same reporting requirements as individuals. In particular, a gun trustee will have to provide photographs and fingerprints when applying to hold or transfer an NFA firearm.[4]

The new regulation represents a victory for proponents of stricter gun control measures who argue that the old rule allowing individuals to opt out of disclosure rules could be a security threat.  Second Amendment absolutists say that the federal government is infringing on their privacy and ability to own guns without Uncle Sam keeping a watchful eye.

One thing is for certain, the use of gun trusts had been steadily climbing–from 2009 until 2012, the number of gun trust applications exploded from less than 1,000 to over 40,000.[5]

Now, the new rules say that background checks are now required and the trustee will have to send their application to the chief law enforcement officer and put them on notice.[6]  The latest ATF rule change is yet another brick in a deeply divisive issue in American politics today.

Contact the Law Offices of Charles Kurmay if You Need an Estate Lawyer to Help You Set Up a Trust in Connecticut or New York.

At the Law Offices of Charles Kurmay, our skilled and experienced attorneys routinely assist clients in probate matters, which range from regular estate administration to very complex probate litigation.  We regularly litigate in the Probate and Superior Courts in Connecticut as their jurisdiction frequently overlaps and in New York as well.  We help clients plan their estates, drafting wills and trusts while helping with tax and Medicaid planning to protect the wealth hard working people have earned over the course of their lives and to help prevent the disaster that we are discussing here.

With offices located in Milford, New York City, South Norwalk, and León Spain, we truly are a local firm with a global reach.

Our Fairfield County office proudly services your legal needs in Bethel, Bridgeport, Brookfield, Danbury, Darien, Easton, Fairfield, Greenwich, Monroe, New Canaan, New Fairfield, Newtown, Norwalk, Redding, Ridgefield, Shelton, Sherman, Stamford, Stratford, Trumbull, Weston, Westport, and Wilton.

We also proudly service New Haven County for all you legal needs in Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Bethany, Branford, Cheshire, Derby, East Haven, Guilford, Hamden, Madison, Meriden, Middlebury, Milford, Naugatuck, New Haven, North Branford, North Haven, Orange, Oxford, Prospect, Seymour, Southbury, Wallingford, Waterbury, West Haven, Wolcott, and Woodbridge.

Our New York City office proudly services all 5 boroughs, including Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island.

If you need a trust and estate planning lawyer in Connecticut or New York , please call us at 203-380-1743. We are available to talk anytime.

[1] https://www.atf.gov/firearms/docs/atf-national-firearms-act-handbook-chapter-3/download

[2] Id.

[3] https://www.fidelity.com/viewpoints/personal-finance/reasons-to-consider-a-trust

[4] https://www.atf.gov/rules-and-regulations/final-rule-41f-background-checks-responsible-persons-effective-july-13#How Does Final Rule 41F Change Current NFA Regulations

[5] http://www.forbes.com/sites/ashleaebeling/2016/07/13/gun-trust-loophole-closed-background-checks-for-all/#330cf48377d8

[6] https://www.atf.gov/rules-and-regulations/final-rule-41f-background-checks-responsible-persons-effective-july-13#How Does Final Rule 41F Change Current NFA Regulations

0

VICTORY IN THE CONNECTICUT APPELLATE COURT: ATTORNEY’S SUSPENSION REVERSED AFTER FINDING OF DUE PROCESS VIOLATION.

As amicus curiae, the Law Offices of Charles Kurmay on behalf of Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (CCDLA) helped bring an appeal of the Superior Court’s decision (Judge Blue) to suspend Attorney John Williams from the practice of law for a period of twenty (20) days. Attorney Williams, who is one of the most experienced and venerable criminal defense and trial lawyers in Connecticut, was accused of willfully violating a court order.

Due process requires the court to give lawyers adequate notice of and time to prepare for a suspension hearing. The Court of Appeals agreed with Williams’ position that his due process rights were violated, after an impromptu suspension hearing went forward immediately following a highly contested jury trial without the opportunity to review court transcripts of any alleged misconduct.

In issuing its decision the Court noted that “Williams…was entitled [to due process which requires] a properly noticed hearing regarding his conduct and whatever sanction might be appropriate, and…time to time to prepare for that hearing.” Accordingly, the Court of Appeals reversed and remanded the case back to the Superior Court for a new hearing.

For more detail, read the full court decision here: /wp-content/uploads/sites/4796/2016/11/166AP364.pdf

0

TIPS FOR SENIORS TO AVOID COMMON ELDER FRAUD SCAMS

Despite state legislative efforts, elder fraud and financial exploitation continue to be a common crime and form of elder abuse in Connecticut, New York, and all over the country.

One recent U.S. Justice Department report notes that about 60% of elders will become a target of elder abuse by an attempted fraud; and about 15% of the seniors report being a victim of elder fraud. These numbers could likely be even higher because seniors are often reluctant to report incidents of elder fraud because they might feel embarrassed or ashamed.

In order to protect yourself from elder abuse and elder fraud scams, you should know more about some of the common schemes used so that you will be wiser if an attempt is made.

Common Schemes of Elder Fraud

One of the most common elder abuse schemes in Connecticut and New York is a telemarketing scheme whereby somebody calls up a potential victim and tries to sell them a phony product.[1]

Here are some other types of elder fraud or other areas where seniors can be targeted:[2]

  • Health Care or Insurance Fraud
  • Funeral and Cemetery Fraud
  • Prescription Drug Fraud
  • Anti-Aging Products

Telemarketing Fraud

Telemarketing schemes involve cold sales calls offering to sell you fake products, or ones that are never delivered.

Some signs that may alert you to these kinds of scams are the following:

  • Offers that are too good to be true;
  • Offers that you won a free gift, prize, or vacation and that you “only need to pay shipping and handling”;
  • Attempts to hide information about the company or deflecting questions about the company;
  • Overly pushy salesmanship;
  • Seller not willing to give you anything in writing

Health Care or Insurance Fraud

There are all kinds of health care scams Connecticut and New York senior residents should watch out for. Medical providers may try to sell you services you don’t need. Some elder abuse scams set up fake mobile “labs” at retirement homes or even in public places where fake clinicians pretend to test you for certain ailments.

You can protect yourself from elder abuse and elder fraud scams by doing the following:

  • Don’t give blanket authorization to medical provider for billing purposes;
  • Never seek medical services of any kind outside of a trusted doctor’s office;
  • Never buy medical devices or equipment before speaking to a trusted physician who can recommended a place;
  • Never give you Medicaid number to anyone over the phone

Prescription Drug Fraud

Online pharmacies can help you save in costs, however you should be cautious of purchasing prescription drugs online or over the phone. If you do use an online pharmacy, make sure it is a Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Site (VIPPS), which is a certification given by the Association of Boards of Pharmacy in the United States.

General Tips to Avoid Becoming a Victim of Elder Fraud

  • Put yourself on the Do Not Call List. You can do so either by calling (888) 382-1222 or go online at www.donotcall.gov
  • Always consult with a family member or trusted friend before making a large purchase.
  • Don’t ever give out your social security number, credit card number, or other personal identifying information over the phone unless you seek out someone’s services.
  • Shred you mail with any sensitive information.
  • Never sign any important or confusing documentation without talking to a trusted family member and speaking to a lawyer first.

Contact the Law Offices of Charles Kurmay if You Need an Elder Abuse, Estate Planning or Probate Lawyer in Connecticut or New York.

At the Law Offices of Charles Kurmay, our skilled and experienced attorneys routinely assist clients in probate matters, which range from regular estate administration to very complex probate litigation.  We regularly litigate in the Probate and Superior Courts in Connecticut and in New York as well.  We help clients plan their estates, drafting wills and trusts while helping with tax and Medicaid planning to protect the wealth hard working people earn over a lifetime.

With offices located in Milford, New York City, South Norwalk, and León Spain, we truly are a local firm with a global reach.

Our Fairfield County office proudly services your legal needs in Bethel, Bridgeport, Brookfield, Danbury, Darien, Easton, Fairfield, Greenwich, Monroe, New Canaan, New Fairfield, Newtown, Norwalk, Redding, Ridgefield, Shelton, Sherman, Stamford, Stratford, Trumbull, Weston, Westport, and Wilton.

We also proudly service New Haven County for all you legal needs in Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Bethany, Branford, Cheshire, Derby, East Haven, Guilford, Hamden, Madison, Meriden, Middlebury, Milford, Naugatuck, New Haven, North Branford, North Haven, Orange, Oxford, Prospect, Seymour, Southbury, Wallingford, Waterbury, West Haven, Wolcott, and Woodbridge.

Our New York City office proudly services all 5 boroughs, including Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island. We serve all of Westchester County as well.

If this or anything similar has happened to you, please call us at 203-380-1743. We are available to talk anytime.

[1] https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/245388.pdf

[2] https://www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/fraud/seniors

0

STOPPING ELDER FINANCIAL ABUSE

Elder financial abuse can take many different forms. It may involve taking money or property, wrongly procuring power of attorney over one’s affairs, or wrongly influencing another to change their will or estate plan. In all cases, elder financial abuse involves one using deceit, coercion, or some kind of scam for personal financial gain.

Recognizing Elder Financial Abuse

It may be difficult to identify if your loved one is being victimized by financial exploitation. As noted by said Julie McEvoy, U.S. Deputy Associate Attorney General, “seniors are often reluctant to report elder abuse.”[1] You loved one might feel embarrassed, feel powerless, or just not know that they are being taken advantage of.

Many elderly folks also have cognitive deficiencies, such as dementia, and can be more easily be brainwashed into providing their “consent” to give away their assets or control over their assets.

Whether you’re a nurse or have a loved one who is elderly and potentially vulnerable to financial elder abuse, there are signs you should lookout for in order to prevent elder financial abuse, including the following:[2]

  • Unusual financial activity (large withdrawals, unexplained transfers, or ATM withdrawals);
  • Caregiver asking about your loved one’s finances;
  • Bank statements or other financial correspondence address changes;
  • Your loved one is spending an unusual amount of time with a new friend;
  • Your loved one mentions something about legal documents given to them

Sadly, many of these incidents of financial elder abuse often go unreported and many of these cunning con-artists are stealing with impunity. One study conducted by the New York City Department for the Aging reports that only 1 in 44 cases of elder financial abuse is actually reported.[3] Adding to the problem is that often prosecutors do not actively pursue these crimes regularly citing a lack of knowledge and resources.

Elder Abuse is a Serious Crime and Should Be Prosecuted Accordingly

Elder financial abuse is a serious crime and we should all do our part to make sure these crimes are reported to the authorities. Often elder financial abuse overlaps with other crimes as well, including the following:[4]

  • Assault/Aggravated Assault
  • Battery
  • Domestic violence
  • Elder abuse[5]
  • Sexual assault/Rape
  • Sexual Battery
  • Trafficking

What You Can Do to Help Stop Financial Elder Abuse

If you know someone who you think might be a victim of financial exploitation, contact the Connecticut Statewide Prosecution Bureau and report it immediately. The more we can do together to expose these criminals, the quicker they can brought to justice.

You should also talk an experienced elder abuse attorney who can help you uncover lost monies stolen by bringing a civil suit in the Probate Court and/or Superior Court. An attorney can also help with an independent investigation and bring enough evidence to the authorities to launch an investigation against the perpetrator.

Contact the Law Offices of Charles Kurmay if You Need an Elder Abuse or Probate Lawyer in Connecticut or New York.

At the Law Offices of Charles Kurmay, our skilled and experienced attorneys routinely assist clients in probate matters, which range from regular estate administration to very complex probate litigation.  We regularly litigate in the Probate and Superior Courts in Connecticut as their jurisdiction frequently overlaps and in New York as well.  We help clients plan their estates, drafting wills and trusts while helping with tax and Medicaid planning to protect the wealth hard working people have earned over the course of their lives and to help prevent the disaster that we are discussing here.

With offices located in Milford, New York City, South Norwalk, and León Spain, we truly are a local firm with a global reach.

Our Fairfield County office proudly services your legal needs in Bethel, Bridgeport, Brookfield, Danbury, Darien, Easton, Fairfield, Greenwich, Monroe, New Canaan, New Fairfield, Newtown, Norwalk, Redding, Ridgefield, Shelton, Sherman, Stamford, Stratford, Trumbull, Weston, Westport, and Wilton.

We also proudly service New Haven County for all you legal needs in Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Bethany, Branford, Cheshire, Derby, East Haven, Guilford, Hamden, Madison, Meriden, Middlebury, Milford, Naugatuck, New Haven, North Branford, North Haven, Orange, Oxford, Prospect, Seymour, Southbury, Wallingford, Waterbury, West Haven, Wolcott, and Woodbridge.

Our New York City office proudly services all 5 boroughs, including Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island.

If this or anything similar has happened to you, please call us at 203-380-1743. We are available to talk anytime.

Citations:

[1] http://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2015/02/13/why-elder-financial-abuse-is-such-a-slippery-crime/#e212c687734e

[2] http://www.preventelderabuse.org/elderabuse/fin_abuse.html

[3]http://ocfs.ny.gov/main/reports/Under%20the%20Radar%2005%2012%2011%20final%20report.pdf

[4] https://www.bja.gov/Publications/ABA-ElderAbuseGuide.pdf

[5] Elder abuse, in and of itself is a crime in Connecticut, but requires physical injury, not merely a financial one. (See http://www.jud.ct.gov/ji/criminal/part6/6.9-1.htm)

0

CAREGIVER FATIGUE CAN LEAD TO ELDER ABUSE, FAMILY DISPUTES, PROBATE LITIGATION, OR OTHER ELDER LAW ISSUES

If you’re experiencing physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion following long periods of stress from caring for loved one, you may be suffering from caregiver fatigue or burnout. Caregiver fatigue is sometimes also called “vicarious traumatization.”

You may not notice that you’re emotionally fatiguing as a caregiver, as it happens gradually over time. One frequent sign is neglect of your own your own health and well-being.

One helpful article discusses seven deadly emotional signs to watch out for in recognizing caregiver fatigue:[1]

  • (1) Guilt: You may mistakenly think that you’re not doing enough to help your loved one and this can be extremely harmful to your psyche by unnecessarily beating yourself up over unrealistic expectations.
  • (2) Resentment: Caregivers often feel upset because of imagined slights by others, including siblings who are perceived as not doing their part to help. The sickly or elderly person being cared is often the target of caregiving resentment.
  • (3) Anger: Unhealthy amounts of anger has been associated with high blood pressure, heart attack, heart disease, digestive-tract disorders and headaches. When unexpressed, it can even lead to depression, anxiety, or explosive anger.
  • (4) Worry: Excessive worrying can lead to difficulty focusing or even trouble sleeping. Some worry can be perfectly normal, but when it gets to be too much, your role as caregiver may be put to the test.
  • (5) Loneliness: taking on the role as caregiver can be very demanding of your time and your life. This can cause you to unknowingly isolate yourself, lessen your willpower, which could lead to overindulgence and substance abuse problems as well as higher stress levels.
  • (6) Grief: You may be anticipating a loss, which can lead to depression and other health problems. Make sure to make time for yourself outside of your role as caregiver.
  • (7) Defensiveness: You may become very sensitive to criticism when you’re feeling over-stressed and insecure from taking on too much responsibility.

Our firm frequently handles complex probate and estate litigation where the dispute often centers around or stems from caregiver fatigue among family members caring for elderly and sick parents. Caregiver fatigue, when ignored, can often lead to family resentment and other actions that can quickly turn into unlawful conduct subjecting those stricken by caregiver fatigue to both civil and criminal consequences.

Civil Consequences of Caregiver Fatigue

Caregiver fatigue can directly and indirectly lead to all kinds of legal troubles. In your professional capacity, you could be sued for negligence or other civil actions stemming from elder abuse depending on the facts of your case.

The effects of caregiver fatigue could ultimately endanger the elderly or children being care for, who may need constant attention to ensure their well-being.

Criminal Consequences of Caregiver Fatigue

In Connecticut, and in many states, elder abuse is a crime. A caregiver may be found guilty of elder abuse if he or she intentionally, knowingly, recklessly abuses of an elderly, blind, physically disabled, or intellectually disabled person causing serious physical injury to that person.[2]

Contact the Law Offices of Charles Kurmay if You Need an Elder Abuse or Probate Lawyer in Connecticut or New York.

At the Law Offices of Charles Kurmay, our skilled and experienced attorneys routinely assist clients in probate matters, which range from regular estate administration to very complex probate litigation.  We regularly litigate in the Probate and Superior Courts in Connecticut as their jurisdiction frequently overlaps and the Supreme Court in New York as well.  We help clients plan their estates, drafting wills and trusts while helping with tax and Medicaid planning to protect the wealth hard working people have earned over the course of their lives and to help prevent the disaster that we are discussing here.

With offices located in Milford, New York City, South Norwalk, and León Spain, we truly are a local firm with a global reach.

Our Fairfield County office proudly services your legal needs in Bethel, Bridgeport, Brookfield, Danbury, Darien, Easton, Fairfield, Greenwich, Monroe, New Canaan, New Fairfield, Newtown, Norwalk, Redding, Ridgefield, Shelton, Sherman, Stamford, Stratford, Trumbull, Weston, Westport, and Wilton.

We also proudly service New Haven County for all you legal needs in Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Bethany, Branford, Cheshire, Derby, East Haven, Guilford, Hamden, Madison, Meriden, Middlebury, Milford, Naugatuck, New Haven, North Branford, North Haven, Orange, Oxford, Prospect, Seymour, Southbury, Wallingford, Waterbury, West Haven, Wolcott, and Woodbridge.

Our New York City office proudly services all 5 boroughs, including Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island.

If this or anything similar has happened to you, please call us at 203-380-1743. We are available to talk anytime.

[1] http://www.nextavenue.org/the-7-deadly-emotions-of-caregiving/

[2] http://www.jud.ct.gov/JI/criminal/part6/6.9-1.htm

0

THE LATEST ON PRINCE’S ESTATE, AND WHY YOU SHOULD HAVE A WILL AND ESTATE PLAN IN NEW YORK AND CONNECTICUT

The world is still mourning the loss of an incredible and beloved musician and performer who, like many before him, left us well before his time. With the death of a celebrity questions surrounding their estate and beneficiaries inevitably follow.

Many are asking those questions as Prince’s estate is reportedly worth close to $300 million dollars [1] with reports as high $800 million and, in the wake of his death, his album sales are soaring. (Prince is currently topping the charts with the #1 and #2, best selling albums). Unlike many other artists, Prince had incredible control over his music, writings and intellectual property, and apparently possessed a treasure trove of unreleased music, which may make his estate even more valuable.

Who are Prince’s Heirs?

This is important because if one dies without a will, the law of “intestacy” would apply according to state law to determine where the money goes when the person that dies has no will. Essentially, the law makes certain assumptions as to who most people would want their estate to go to without a will and forces the distribution of the estate’s assets accordingly. In many cases, this leads to arbitrary and often bizarre results. The solution is, if at all possible, call your lawyer and have a will or trust that legally directs where you want your assets to subsequent to your death.

Prince Did Not Have a Will

The scenario above seems to be playing out with Prince’s estate. Up until April 27, 2016, it was still unclear whether or not Prince had ever written a last will and testament. However, a Minnesota judge recently confirmed that Prince did not have a will, and appointed his bank as trustee to settle his estate and wind up his affairs.

Prince was not survived by a spouse, parents, or any children. Prince did have a sister, Tyka Nelson, and five half-siblings.

Under Minnesota law, where one dies with no surviving spouse and no surviving children, the balance of the state would pass equally to the decedent’s heirs. (For more on Connecticut intestacy law , please reference the article we have written on the topic linked here).

Although Prince had been married twice in the past, ex-wives do not take under Minnesota law. Thus, it appears that Prince’s sister Tyka and his half-siblings will likely all share equally in the distribution of his estate.

Reasons You Should Have a Will and Estate Plan

There are many reasons why you should always be prepared and have a will and estate plan in place. Some of those reasons include the following:

  • You can count on someone you trust to settle your estate.
  • You can minimize estate taxes by creating an appropriate estate plan (Prince’s estate will likely be subject to massive estate taxes).
  • You can plan your estate to provide for the future parenting needs of your children by appointing persons as guardians.
  • You can hopefully prevent disputes among family members
  • You can avoid wasting estate resources by avoiding unnecessary legal costs

Not having a will can lead to a long drawn-out and messy legal battle, especially when millions of dollars are at stake, like in the case with Prince. The only way to ensure your family is taken care of, God forbid, is to make sure you have an estate plan in place.

Contact the Law Offices of Charles Kurmay if You Need a Probate Lawyer or Help Setting Up an Estate Plan in New York or Connecticut.

At the Law Offices of Charles Kurmay, our skilled and experienced attorneys routinely assist clients in probate matters, which range from regular estate administration to very complex probate litigation. We regularly litigate in the Probate and Superior Courts in Connecticut as their jurisdiction frequently overlaps and the Supreme Court in New York as well. We help clients plan their estates, drafting wills and trusts while helping with tax and Medicaid planning to protect the wealth hard working people have earned over the course of their lives and to help prevent the disaster that we are discussing here.

With offices located in Milford, New York City, South Norwalk, and León Spain, we truly are a local firm with a global reach.

Our New York City office proudly services all 5 boroughs, including Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island.

Our Fairfield County office proudly services your legal needs in Bethel, Bridgeport, Brookfield, Danbury, Darien, Easton, Fairfield, Greenwich, Monroe, New Canaan, New Fairfield, Newtown, Norwalk, Redding, Ridgefield, Shelton, Sherman, Stamford, Stratford, Trumbull, Weston, Westport, and Wilton.

We also proudly service New Haven County for all you legal needs in Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Bethany, Branford, Cheshire, Derby, East Haven, Guilford, Hamden, Madison, Meriden, Middlebury, Milford, Naugatuck, New Haven, North Branford, North Haven, Orange, Oxford, Prospect, Seymour, Southbury, Wallingford, Waterbury, West Haven, Wolcott, and Woodbridge.

If you need help setting up an estate plan, please call us at (203) 380-1743. We are available to talk anytime and here to help.

Sources:

http://money.cnn.com/2016/04/25/news/prince-will/index.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/04/25/pic-and-pub-pls-prince-had-no-will-raising-possibility-of-battle/

http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/chart-beat/7341816/prince-number-1-and-2-on-billboard-200-albums-chart-very-best-of-purple-rain-albums

http://www.businessinsider.com/what-will-happen-to-princes-estate-2016-4

https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=524.2-101

Connecticut State Law On Estate Distribution Upon Death